Disclaimer: Wow do I not own these characters. Kind of wish I did, but where would I house all the animals?
Rated R for extremely coarse language and VERY un-PC comments (hey, it _is_ Leon after all).
Detective Leon Orcot was in a foul mood.
This in itself was not big news. Anyone who had ever associated with the Detective could have told you that the blonde detective was ALWAYS in a foul mood, but tonight it was fouler than usual.
For starters he'd lost the toss and had been forced out into the cold icy rain to get pizza for the rest of the stakeout "team". Adding to this annoyance was the fact that he was only wearing a light jacket and was now soaked and frozen. Then there was the issue of having spent the past two weeks on a stakeout watching a supposed "den of iniquity". Then there was the ORIGINAL issue of being here at all.
He'd been sent to New York because one of their outstanding "most wanted" perps had been reported in the area and Leon, among others back in Chicago, wanted to have a few words with him. So Leon had been sent down to "enhance inter-departmental co-operation" with the local cops, even though none of them WANTED him here, nor did he particularly want to go. Leon suspected that the reason the Chief had chosen to send him here was less in the name of "inter-departmental co-operation" than it was in the name of "get Leon the hell out of my hair for a while".
Leon longed to just find the perp and drag him back. Unfortunately, the guy in question was supposed to be heavily involved in the local criminal fraternity, and was reputed to be hitting for the local Mr Big. Hence he was "helping" in the stakeout, trying to catch Perp 153934A, Jim, Sonny, among others, despite the fact that he had no jurisdiction in this area and therefore could do two things – jack and shit. Hence, Leon's current annoyance. Fourteen days of barely any sleep, snatched meals and extremely rare opportunities for attending to personal hygiene tended to cause irritation in even the most placid of personalities, and Leon wasn't known for his patience. Additionally, owing to his exile he'd been unable to visit the Pet Shop.
Leon blinked and amended that thought. Not that not visiting it was bothering him. No. Not at all. He was quite sure that the Pet Shop and all of its inhabitants were warm, dry and well, and that the Count was going about his normal business of murdering the various inhabitants of the city in gruesome ways with his normal placid demeanour.
Damn Pet Shop.
Leon grimaced as he opened the side door of the car which had been one of his homes away from home over the past weeks and noticed who was inside. Detective John Carter.
*Damn, shift must have changed while I was getting the pizza.*
"You're late back," Carter said.
"Yeah," Leon replied, getting in. "You want some of this?"
"Depends. What did you get?"
"Pepperoni, Meatlovers and Italian."
"What did I just say? No, there's no vegetarian. If you don't like it, don't eat it." Leon said. " Where's MacNicholls?"
"_Officer_ MacNicholls is in the secondary car."
Leon rolled his eyes.
"Fine. You want to grab some of this then, and I'll walk the rest over to him."
Carter stared at him. "The book specifically states that there should be no contact between the primary and secondary vehicles to avoid alerting the suspects to the surveillance. Your actions could put this entire stakeout at jeopardy."
"What stakeout?" Leon demanded. "We're not even sure that that building is the one we want!" He gestured to the rundown warehouse they'd been watching for the last two weeks. It looked remarkably like all the other ones around it. "We've been sitting here on our butts without even going for a reconnaissance! This is a real Mickey Mouse way to run an operation. We should at least make sure that we're watching the right goddamn building!"
"Aw man, here we go."
Carter glared at him. "Detective Orcot..."
And so the lecture began. While Carter droned on about proper procedure, mutual respect, and listed at great length all the reasons and clues and details as to why _this_ warehouse was the one to watch, again, Leon settled down to eat his pizza and tried to ignore the other man. It wasn't that Carter didn't know what he was talking about. Carter was in fact a very _good_ policeman, one who had a great arrest record and several commendations, including one for bravery and devotion to duty above and beyond the call. He was also very intelligent and extremely handsome.
Leon hated his guts.
In his opinion Carter was an ass-kissing, by-the-book, 100% pure, undiluted, major league pain in the butt, whose one redeeming feature seemed to be that he was actually reasonably good at his job.
Of course, a lot of people would have said exactly the same thing about _Leon_, although they would have left out both the ass-kissing and the by-the-book comments, and possibly added something about his being somewhat intolerant towards other people. Leon himself would occasionally privately admit that he was not as tolerant of diversity as he probably should be. But at least he was consistent - he disliked all other people for who they were equally and fairly. As Jill had once commented, it wasn't so much that Leon didn't like people based on their ethnicity, sexuality or gender, it was more that Leon didn't like people AT ALL. In fact the only people he seemed to be remotely interested in the wellbeing of were the ones who had been murdered, and thus were beyond causing him any irritation. Some might wonder why he bothered to track down their killers then, which was a stupid question to ask. After all, just because Leon didn't LIKE other people didn't mean that OTHER other people could just go around bumping them off. He'd once said that to Jill and she'd laughed and called him "logical to a fault".
Boiled down, all of this basically meant that Leon did not play well with others.
"Are you done?" He asked as Carter began to near the end of his spiel. "Because if you are, I'll just head out to give MacNicholls his food."
"Did you hear a word I just said?"
Leon had had enough. "Listen dickwad," he snarled. "I'm cold, hungry, and I don't give a damn. So eat me."
"Profanity is unnecessary, Detective Orcot," Carter said primly.
"Fuck." Leon lurched back out of the car. How the hell did that guy manage to sit down with that poker rammed up his ass? Heh, maybe that was why he sat up so straight.
Taking the round-about route, Leon snuck up on the secondary car, jerked open the back door and got in.
"Who? Oh, Detective Orcot, sir!"
Leon sighed. "Just call me Leon. And you should lock the doors."
Officer MacNicholls looked at him nervously. "Yes Detective Leon sir."
Leon groaned. How the hell had he managed to wind up with the greenest rookie he'd ever seen and the most anally-retentive asshole he'd ever met?
Typical of his luck. Even the Count wasn't this annoying.
"Pizza," he said flatly. "You want?"
"I couldn't eat on duty sir!"
Leon sighed and tried to decide which was worse. Being Sirred or being annoyed. At least he could annoy Carter back in the other car. Leaving some of the pizza behind he ran around the corner and took a different route back to the primary car.
On his way through an alley, he paused for a quick cigarette under a protecting eave. *God this is a waste of time*, he thought to himself, opening the pepperoni pizza box and helping himself to a slice once the cigarette was gone, enjoying not having to listen to someone yell when bits of the topping fell off. *I could actually be DOING something useful if I was at home, or at least getting a decent cup of coffee, maybe heading over to the Pet Shop...*
Why did he keep thinking about the damn Pet Shop?
"Waow!" A tiny voice intruded upon his thoughts. Leon looked down to see a skinny, sodden kitten by his shoe, anxiously staring up at him. "Waow?" It repeated.
"Waow?" Leon echoed. "What do YOU want?" *Okay, I have really been hanging around the Pet Shop too long now.*
The kitten rubbed itself against his shoe and managed a slightly less pathetic meow. "Rowr?"
Leon crouched down by it. "Whatsamatter?"
The kitten batted itself against his shoe, "Rowr, raaaooowwr!"
Leon took another bite of pizza as he pondered the creature. Some of the pepperoni fell off as he tried not to get greasy cheese down his chin. The kitten pounced on the fallen pieces and began to eat them.
"Oh, like that huh?" Leon fished through the boxes of pizza and found a slice of Meatlovers. "There you go," he said, putting it down.
The kitten began to lick the slice, before starting in on the meat, and then licking through the tomato sauce to get to the mozzarella cheese. Leon watched casually, taking the opportunity to have another smoke before he had to go back to the car.
Apparently the kitten wasn't interested in pizza crust, and once finished, began to wind around Leon's shoes, purring loudly. Leon watched it with amusement, trying to remember what he knew about cats from hanging around the Count. He judged this one to be just about out of kittenhood, nearly into cat teenagerhood, or whatever the equivalent for cats was. It didn't seem to be afraid of humans, or at least not of Leon. Obviously a stray, it was pretty scrawny and its fur was soaked. It was a strange colour too, kind of black with multi-spotted with bits of other colours all through the fur. He could see white & ginger patches on it.
Once the kitten had finished thanking Leon for the food, it headed over to the spilling-over garbage can by the opposite wall, and began to paw through the trash that had fallen on the ground. Leon watched as it dug in, seeking food and warmth.
A large ginger cat stalked out from behind the garbage can and hissed at the kitten, who gamely snarled back, but was clearly no match for the older cat. Leon watched the ginger see the kitten off, out of its turf. The kitten gradually backed off, hissing and spitting all the while, but was driven back into the centre of the alleyway, where the rain instantly soaked it again. Content, the ginger cat went back to it's home, and the kitten padded back over to Leon. Forlornly, it licked at the pizza crust, searching for a morsel it had missed earlier. Leon gave it another slice, and it pounced on it eagerly.
"Yeah kiddo, life sucks," Leon muttered. "But you'll be okay." He petted the sodden cat for a moment, then headed off with his now-cold pizza. He got as far as the entrance to the alleyway, when he heard a loud howl and turned to see the kitten be driven off from the food by the other cat.
"Oh man," Leon said, as he felt guilt begin to gnaw at his insides. "It's not my problem! Come on!" *It's just a kitten. I don't care. I don't. Really.* Leon thought furiously, trying to ignore the dejected-looking animal.
He pretended not to see it as it jumped up onto a trash can, and stuck its head deep into it, tail waving and butt up in the air.
*I am a mean, tough, hardened cop,* he reminded himself. *I don't even LIKE cute, furry animals.*
The kitten toppled into the trash can with a wail, and Leon sighed.
*If the Count ever found out I just left it here he'd skin me alive. Literally.*
Walking back over, Leon fished the tiny cat out of the can and stuck it in his jacket pocket. It fit, just. *Stupid cat, stupid pet shop, stupid Count, stupid ME,* he thought as he trudged back to the car and opened the door.
Carter shot him an irritated look as he climbed into the back seat.
"What took you so long?" He demanded.
Leon rolled his eyes. "I didn't know you cared," he said sarcastically. "I went the long way round to avoid suspicion, okay?"
Carter grumbled. "Well at least you're... WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"
"What?" Leon asked innocently.
"That, that..." Carter's face had gone red.
Leon looked down at the kitten, who had poked its head out of his pocket, and was now trying to get out to explore. "What? You've never seen a cat before?" He shrugged. "It was wandering around loose, so I picked it up."
Carter's eyebrows shot up. "Do you _always_ pick up strays, Detective Orcot?"
Leon smirked at him. "Just doing my moral duty."
Carter muttered something under his breath before resuming his complaints. "Why the hell did you bring that thing in here anyway?" he demanded. "It's probably got fleas, worms, and who knows what kinds of diseases."
"Yeah, yeah, and probably the Ebola virus too," Leon said derisively. "It's a kitten Carter, it's not gonna hurt you. It's not like it's a man-eating rabbit or anything."
Carter gave him a strange look and Leon cursed himself for mentioning it. He'd been trying to forget those stupid rabbits for a while now, but the memory of them preyed on him and popped up sometimes, usually at awkward moments.
"You can't keep it in here," Carter said eventually. "Either ditch it or leave it with MacNicholls, he's junior."
Leon smiled pleasantly at Carter. "Maybe I will," he said. "Maybe I'll just get out of here and wander right back over to MacNicholls and have a nice little chat before I wander back over here."
Carter exploded. "If this surveillance gets blown it'll be because of you Orcot! And... what's that smell?"
"Uh oh," Leon glanced down and next to him. The kitten moved away from the spreading damp patch on the back seat and wandered over to Leon, looking thoroughly pleased with itself. Leon looked up at the expression of outrage on Carter's face and nearly choked trying not to laugh.
"YOU SON OF A BITCH!"
"It's just doing what comes natural," Leon said mildly. "It's _only_ a kitten Carter." He was surprised to find himself grinning. If he'd known how annoying pets were to other people, he'd have gotten one years ago. He yawned and got out of the car. "The cat's got a point. I gotta go pee." He snagged the kitten and put it back in his jacket pocket, not trusting Carter to leave it alone.
Carter stared at him disbelievingly. "Don't you DARE leave me here with that smell and..."
Leon closed the door on Carter's yells and sauntered off down the street. "Good kitty," he said, patting the animals head.
Carter wound down his window. "The nearest public convenience is four blocks away, and don't take too long!" He shouted. "You've still got to clean this up!"
"So much for secrecy," Leon said, rolling his eyes. He looked around for a suitable alleyway. "Public convenience my ass," he muttered to himself, as he located one. Making sure he was out of Carter's vision he stepped in and opened his fly.
"Aaaahhhh…" He sighed in relief as his urine splashed against the wall.
A moment later he heard footsteps behind him. Grunting, he shifted position so that the outline of his gun and holster was revealed against the fabric of his jacket. And also so that his other "gun" was concealed. There was a quiet zipping sound nearby and another golden stream shot out to hit the wall.
Finishing up, Leon was about to observe the time-honoured rule of male urination (don't talk, don't make eye contact, just do your business and leave), when the kitten let out an ear-splitting howl and clawed at his arm.
"What? You just went!" He said in annoyance, zipping up. The other man also zipped up, and then did a double take at the cat in Leon's pocket.
"What's with the cat?" He asked.
"It's good for scoring with the chicks," Leon lied without hesitation. "The clean ones. They like a man who's "vulnerable" or some crap." He hoped the other man would buy it. Last thing he needed was to be thought _soft_.
It seemed to work. The other man chuckled. "Yeah, they do at that. And what about the dirty ones?"
"Heh, then they're always open for a little more pussy," Leon cracked.
The two men snickered and then looked each other over measuringly.
"Mark," the other man identified himself. "You new in town?"
"Leon. Just passing through, thought I'd see if I could score a little action before I headed home."
Mark raised his eyebrows. "Well you've come to the right place, man. How'd you know?"
"I keep my eyes open, and my mouth shut," Leon responded casually. *Come on _buddy_, give me a break here.* "But my directions seem to be missing the actual address of the place."
Mark grinned, showing a number of sparking, gold teeth. "Hey man, _everyone_ knows the warehouse is the place to be. Just duck back out this alleyway, down two side streets, and turn left. It's the big building with the grey door. Just tell them that you're looking for a little fun, and they can set you up with whatever you want."
"Sounds like I might get lucky tonight after all," Leon grinned. "Thanks bud. You heading there too? First beer's on me?" *Down two fucking side streets?! We're practically around the fucking corner, I don't believe this!*
"Just tell them to put it on my tab," Mark grinned. "I gotta get me home, got some hot'n'heavy lovin' waiting for me there. Have fun."
"Oh don't worry, I will," Leon promised, trying not to grind his teeth.
Mark started to walk away and then turned and called back, "Oh hey, Leon! If you're going back down the back way, watch out for the undercover cop!"
"The what?" Leon tensed.
"The undercover cop. Guy in the white Toyota. The one watching the empty warehouse."
*Carter you are such a fucking moron.* "Oh him. Yeah, he's a little obvious ain't he?"
"Yeah. Sitting pretty." Mark snickered. "What a putz."
Leon laughed shortly and strode off, following the directions his new friend had given him. *I'll just check it out, see if it's the right place...* he told himself. *Maybe get a beer at the same time. Hell, maybe I'll get two.*
Arriving at the nondescript building, he knocked on the door. A shutter was thrown back.
"Name's Leon, from out of town. I heard this was the place to go if I wanted all my needs taken care of." *That sounded vague enough.*
The door was flung open and a huge black man stared down at him. "And what makes you think we want to take care of your _needs_?" he sneered.
"Hey, if you don't, it's no skin off my nose," Leon spread his hands and took a step back. "I can always spend my money elsewhere."
The bouncer glared at him, "I don't think I like you, white boy."
Leon sneered. "Fortunately, you're not my type. I..."
"For Christ's sake, cat, shut the hell up!" Leon snapped, clapping a hand over his jacket pocket.
"Waow?" The kitten looked at him miserably. "Mewr?"
"Aw hell, don't _look_ at me that way," Leon petted the kitten, and then looked back up at the bouncer, trying frantically to regain lost ground. "Listen asshole..."
"Cute kitten," the bouncer regarded it and then stretched out a finger. The kitten sniffed it, then licked it gently. "Who's it for?"
Leon tried to remember his earlier story, couldn't, and instantly came up with a new one. "It's a gift for my kid."
"You got a kid?" The bouncer looked interested. "What name?"
"D," Leon said without thinking. *Dammit!*
"Dee?" The bouncer thought about it for a moment. "Is that short for something?"
"Yeah," Leon was nearly overcome with relief. "Deanna."
"How old is she?"
"Six, seven the day after tomorrow," Leon adlibbed. "Been pestering me for a pet for her birthday for weeks. You know kids."
"Yeah, I do, I got two of my own. Just had the second one – a boy this time. Wanna see a picture?" The bouncer asked eagerly.
Leon obediently looked at the picture and tried to summon up some enthusiasm.
"Nice kids," he managed to put some energy into his tone of voice. "You must be proud."
"Yeah," the bouncer smiled at the photo mistily. Leon rolled his eyes and shifted his feet slightly.
"Oh hey, sorry to keep you held up like that," the bouncer replaced his photo and stepped aside. "You know how it is, you get all overcome when you got a new one. Go on in."
"Thanks!" Leon said with relief. "Nice talking to you."
"And you. Drop by whenever you're in town, I'll remember you."
Entering through a series of doors, Leon had to admire whatever the hell it was they were using as soundproofing. From the outside, he'd never think there was anything special about this building. From the inside though... cigarette smoke, tobacco and otherwise, filled the air, and a song with a loud bass beat pulsed through the crowded building. Around him people yelled at each other, trying to communicate their wants. Pushing past a man buying what looked like cocaine, Leon marvelled at the differences. *It's like the Pet Shop. Normal on the outside, horror house on the inside.*
*And we're back to thinking about the Pet Shop again. This sucks. Focus god damn it. Try to find that asshole Sonny so that I can go back _home_.*
Leon tried to pretend that his first thought of home was not the Pet Shop. Turning, he spotted the bar.
"Beer!" He demanded loudly as he made it to a stool. "Now!"
Within seconds he had a cold one in front of him. Taking a deep draft of it he sighed, before pulling a couple of notes out of his pocket. "I want another one before this one is finished. And I owe Mark one too, so take the cost of it out of that before you take your tip."
"You got it," the bartender said, making the notes disappear. "You a good friend of Marks?"
"Good enough," Leon dodged the question. "Who wants to know?"
"Noone, he just never mentioned you before, that's all," the bartender squinted at him. "You know you've got a kitten in your pocket, right?"
"Yup." Leon inhaled more beer.
"Present, or some weird kink?"
"Present for my girl," Leon said coldly.
"What's her name?"
Leon figured that since he was stuck thinking about the Count and the Pet Shop he might as well go with it. "D," he replied. "Short for DeeDee."
"Nice name. Looker?"
Leon blinked in confusion before realising that the bartender thought that he'd meant _girlfriend_ 'girl' , rather than kid. *What the hell, at least this way I won't have to look at any more baby photos.*
"Yeah, a little thin though," he replied. "You know, delicate. Oriental."
"Aw man, you lucked out! Those Asian chicks are hot."
Leon tried very hard not to think about D like that, as the other man burbled on about hot Asian chicks.
"Little petite hands and mouths..."
"You know," Leon trampled in hastily, while trying to banish a bad mental image, "I just remembered I owe another friend a beer." He pulled out another note. "Jim Sonny?"
"Jimmy? Yeah, I know Jimmy!" The bartender took the bill happily. "Actually, he should be in later this evening. You want I should tell you when he gets here?"
A broad smile spread across Leon's face.
Four hours later, Leon opened the back door of the car and got in.
"Detective Orcot! Detective Carter has been wondering where you are!" MacNicholls tried not to wrinkle his nose as he got a whiff of the other man. Orcot positively reeked of alcohol, cigarette smoke and cheap perfume. There was another scent too, one he couldn't quite work out.
"Detective Carter can kiss my ass," Leon muttered. Then he grinned and leaned forward. "So, you feel like going home?"
"I say let's crack this case and blow this flea-joint," Leon said. "You up to a major bust? Drugs, prostitution, gambling, assassinations done to order."
Leon sighed. "Was I ever this new? Wise up kid, it's time to play hardball. Are you ready to play hardball?"
"You know where the underground place is?"
"That I do," Leon smiled. "And soon so will you." *Hey, that rhymes!*
"But," MacNicholls gulped, "you should be informing Detective Carter of this information Sir. He's senior, and should be the one to report it."
"Listen kid, let Uncle Leon help you out here. You want to serve and protect, right?"
MacNicholls swallowed. "Yes sir."
"You want to make detective, right?"
"You want to make Carter look like the moron that he is, right?"
MacNicholls paused and then grinned. "Yes sir!"
"Then start calling in the results of _your_ surveillance and investigating, cause I've done enough for one day," Leon stretched and settled himself comfortably in the back seat. "Wake me when the SWAT teams get here."
"And order some more pizza, will ya kid?"
Count D raised his eyebrows as loud, cheerful, but not particularly tuneful, whistling floated down the stairs, preceding the arrival of Detective Orcot. The Detective was not exactly known for turning up while in a good mood, or indeed for ever being in a good mood at all.
"Welcome back Detective," he said, turning gracefully to face the other man as he entered. "How was your trip?"
"It wasn't so bad," Leon said casually as he walked in the door. "Been well Count? Animals eaten anyone interesting lately?"
"What a joker you are Detective. Both I and the animals are fine thank you..." Count D's voice trailed off as he inhaled the aroma coming from the cardboard box Leon was holding.
"Garlic and sausage pizza?" He wrinkled his nose. "Really Detective, I must protest."
"Want a slice?" Leon asked cheerfully. "It's good."
"No thank you," Count D covered his face with one long, embroidered sleeve, and attempted to wave the fumes away from him with his free hand.
"Probably just as well," Leon said. "You wouldn't want the remaining slice anyway. For you." He dumped the half-open box in Count D's hands. The Count caught the box hurriedly, surprised at the way the weight shifted.
Eyebrows shooting up, the Count turned the box so that he could see into it. The kitten looked up and purred at him briefly before going back to licking the topping off the last slice of pizza.
"Picked him up on my trip," Leon said. "What do you think? Can you find Travis a home?"
"_Where_ exactly did you pick... Travis... up?" The Count demanded, reaching out a long thin finger to gently stroke the kitten.
"In a garbage can in an alleyway," Leon said. "He likes pepperoni, Mexican, and sausage pizza, but not Hawaiian. Like the name? I came up with it myself. He's named after Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver."
"Detective, one does NOT feed cats pizza!" The Count said sharply. He inspected the slice the kitten was eating. "_Especially_ not with extra cheese topping!"
"But he likes it!" Leon protested. "He likes burgers too. The meat bits anyway."
The Count shuddered, and then paused, a stray thought drifting through his mind.
"So can you take him?" Leon asked.
"Can I find a home for a cat who is used to living in garbage, and likes pizza and other takeaway foods which are very bad for him?" The Count asked out loud. "Why... yes, I can."
Leon beamed as the Count gently lifted the kitten out of the box. "Well, gotta be going," he said cheerfully. "Bye Travis." The Count and Travis saw him to the door.
"Oh Detective? I have something for you."
Leon turned just outside the door, and his jaw dropped as the Count dumped Travis into his unresisting hands.
"Here you go Detective," the Count said. "I never thought I could trust you with a pet, or find one that is suited to your habits, but clearly destiny has had a hand in this match. Enjoy your pet." The door closed firmly.
Leon stared at the kitten for a moment before the door opened again.
"Oh, and by the way, Travis is a girl," D added. The door closed again, this time locking with a loud click.
Shut outside the pet shop, Leon felt a grin spreading across his face as the kitten, _his_ kitten, yawned widely.
"Well hello there sweetheart," he crooned. "Wanna go for a burger and some videos?"
"I knew you would," Leon began to walk back to his car. "You know, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship."
This fic is dedicated to all the cats in my life: to Charlotte ("The Vulture"), the former Master and Tyrant of All Roy Street; to Whiskey, ("Whiiiiishkeey"), the great big coward; and to Bodie, ("The Lap-Hunter"), an even bigger coward.
For some reason, the further through this fic I got the more uncouth Leon became. I know he's fairly obnoxious normally, but I really had to rein him back about halfway through the fic. He also wound up turning into a pathological liar, and I don't know how the hell _that_ happened! Excessive boredom and frustration on his part I guess. I think I've been reading and watching too many crime shows lately.
I know D would never give Leon a pet of his own (in fact, I believe at one point he tells Leon he wouldn't trust him with a pet), but I liked the idea of a cat with all Leon's bad habits.
One note of warning: don't feed your cats pizza! They may love it, but it really is very bad for them!
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